CDL Driver’s License Place Extra Burdens and Requirements on New Mexico Truck Drivers to be Safe

- Mark Caruso

Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) Help Keep Dangerous and Deadly Drivers off the Roads

Drivers and operators of large commercial trucks such as tractor trailers, flatbeds, semis, 18-wheelers, and other trucks have to satisfy some very special requirements and several tests before they may operate such motor vehicles.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set forth the standards and requirements for commercial drivers across the country to get a commercial driver’s license, or CDL.  The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that CDL drivers are competent and safety orientated.

Thus, holders of a CDL are held to a higher standard than other drivers.  CDL drivers have additional training, testing, and required experience to help them manage their massive vehicles.  If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a CDL driver, contact the experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today for a FREE consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000.  We can investigate the happenings of your accident and the background of the CDL driver to ensure there was proper compliance with the federal regulations.  If the CDL driver failed to comply, or was negligent in complying, our attorneys will hold him or her and the trucking company liable for your injuries.

CDL Eligibility Requirements

Not everyone can receive a CDL.  There are many different requirements to acquire a CDL, all prescribed by the Department of Motor Vehicles and very federal agencies, including the FMCSA.

First, an applicant must be at least 18 years old for a CDL.  Only people 21 years or older may driver across state lines or operate a vehicle containing hazardous materials.  Second, an applicant must have no prior, certain criminal offenses which would disqualifying him or her, such as certain felonies.  If an applicant lies or hides his or her age or his or her criminal background to obtain a CDL, and then causes a motor vehicle accident, he or she may be liable to the victim or victims for these violations.

Once the application phase is complete, an applicant must test for and obtain a commercial learner’s permit and hold the permit for at least two weeks.  To receive a commercial learner’s permit, an applicant must provide his or her driver’s license, a 10 year driver history (driver’s abstract), and a medical exemption self-certification form that confirms you are medically able to operate a commercial vehicle.

Then the applicant must pass a knowledge and road skills test.  The knowledge test must be at lear 30 questions long, and a passing score is 80% or more.  The road skills test is just as it sounds, and is a difficult course testing many common maneuvers and some more challenging ones.

Now the applicant can receive the commercial learner’s permit.  This is not the full CDL yet.

To receive the CDL, an applicant must practice with an already licensed CDL driver.  Once the applicant has held the learner’s permit for at least two weeks, the applicant can apply for the CDL.  This requires another skills test for the same type of vehicle that the applicant plans on driving with the CDL license.  There is an additional skills test that the applicant must also pass.  This consists of three parts, including the vehicle inspection, basic controls exam, and a road test.

The Purposes of a CDL are to Prevent Injuries and Keep Dangerous Drivers off the Roads

Because most commercial trucking occurs over state lines, the federal agencies created a baseline for CDL licensure in an attempt to unify all of the states.  States are allowed to add extra precautions, but not less.  These precautions are meant to help keep dangerous drivers off the roads, such as inexperienced or certain criminals who may be unfit to operate a large commercial truck.  Additionally, the training, skills tests, and knowledge based tests are all present to help ensure only safe and competent drivers get their CDLs and behind the wheels of large trucks.

Drivers Without CDLs Can be Dangerous, but Drivers with CDLs who Fail to Adhere to their Training Can be Deadly

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced trucking accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000.  You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.